Richland Public Health is now recognized as a Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) distribution and training site. Through the Project DAWN program, Richland Public Health is able to educate, train and distribute Project DAWN kits to concerned individuals at no cost, made possible through a grant from the Ohio Department of Health.
Project DAWN kits include two doses of naloxone (Narcan), two nasal atomizers, two face shields for rescue breathing, a quick reference tool and a Richland Public Health resource guide that includes treatment options throughout Richland County. Richland Public Health will offer in-person training for individuals who would like a Project DAWN kit. Those who wish to receive training and a kit should call 419-774-4700 to be put on the registration list. Dates and times of the training are not yet finalized.
WHAT IS PROJECT DAWN?
Project DAWN is named in memory of Leslie Dawn Cooper, who struggled with addiction for years before dying of a witnessed opioid overdose in 2009. Project DAWN is a public health community-based drug overdose education and naloxone distribution program.
PARTICIPANTS RECEIVE TRAINING ON:
WHY IS RICHLAND PUBLIC HEALTH INVOLVED?
According to the CDC, the rate of U.S. deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin). In 2014, unintentional drug overdoses caused 2,531 deaths in Ohio.
In Richland County, there were 58 drug overdose deaths in 2016, with an additional nine deaths still pending autopsy results. The increased illicit use of a powerful opioid called fentanyl was a significant contributor to this rise in drug overdose deaths. Fentanyl-related unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased from 84 in 2013, involving fewer than 4% of such deaths, to 503 in 2014, involving 19.9% of such deaths.
In a 2016 response to the growing issue, Richland Public Health became a distributor of naloxone for our law enforcement and emergency medical responders.
RISK FACTORS FOR AN OPIOID OVERDOSE
Mixing Drugs – Many overdoses occur when people mix heroin or prescription opioids with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or antidepressants. Alcohol and benzodiazepines, such as Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam), are particularly dangerous because, like opioids, these substances impact an individual’s ability to breathe.
Lowered Tolerance – Tolerance is the body’s ability to process a drug. Tolerance changes over time so those addicted may need more of a drug to feel its effects. However, tolerance can decrease rapidly when someone has taken a break from using a substance whether intentionally (in treatment) or unintentionally (in jail or hospital). Taking opioids after a period of not using can increase the risk of a fatal overdose.
Health Problems – Physical health impacts the body’s ability to manage opioids. Since opioids can impair the ability to breathe, those with asthma or other breathing problems are at higher risk for an overdose. Individuals with liver or kidney disease or dysfunction, heart disease or HIV/AIDS are also at an increased risk of an overdose.
Previous Overdose – A person who has experienced a nonfatal overdose in the past, has an increased risk of a fatal overdose in the future.
Richland Public Health is encouraging the community to learn more about the dangers of these unintentional overdose deaths. By being informed, many of the health risks associated with this issue can be avoided.
If you or someone you know are at risk of an opiate overdose, contact Richland Public Health at 419-774-4700 to register for the required life-saving training and a FREE Project DAWN kit. Further information is available at www.richlandhealth.org/my-community/project-dawn . Refer to this site for training dates, when posted.